If you have certain types of foot problems, a podiatrist may recommend that you have surgery to correct the problem. Unfortunately, some pain after surgery is something to be expected, and opioid medications are a common prescription after surgery to help patients with pain. Due to a high rate of dependence development, many podiatrists are working to avoid prescribing opioids after surgery or at least prescribe them for emergency pain only to avoid creating a dependence on them. If you and your doctor have chosen to avoid opioids after foot surgery, there are a few ways you can alleviate foot pain without these powerful painkillers.
Use heat pads and ice packs to minimize discomfort at the surgical site.
Much of your pain after foot surgery will come from the incision site, so if you can minimize the discomfort here, you will feel much less pain overall. Use either heat pads or ice packs to keep the discomfort low, and you may want to alternate back and forth between the two. The changes in temperature may thwart some of the achiness and keep inflammation at a minimum. Some people respond better to heat than ice or vice versa, and it is also good to talk to your doctor about which method will be safe for your incisions or the type of surgery you had.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers on a scheduled basis.
Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are both good pain-relieving medications that you can buy over the counter, and these are perfectly safe for most patients after they have had foot surgery. It is a good idea to keep these medications in your system on a strict schedule, especially in the first few days after surgery when your pain will likely be at its worst. Many doctors recommend alternating between ibuprofen and acetaminophen with each dose to feel the best results in pain relief.
Ask your doctor about pain-relieving cream or topical agents.
There are some medications that do not contain opioids that can be applied directly to a surgical site to help alleviate some of the pain you will experience. Before surgery, talk to your podiatrist about if there are topical agents they can prescribe that may help you with some of the discomforts you may experience. Most of these topicals contain small amounts of numbing agents to help soothe the nerves around the incisions so you feel more comfortable during the healing process.